Separating the fact from fiction with over-the-counter painkillers
When pain first hits, whether it’s a thumping headache, migraine, back pain or period pain, we often self-medicate with painkillers and hope for the best.
But do we actually know what we’re doing? A lot of misinformation exists around over-the-counter pain medications and it can be hard for consumers to separate fact from fiction. In some instances, we’re not even using the products effectively.
We spoke with Perrigo, a leading provider of over-the-counter medicines to debunk s0me of the most common myths surrounding painkillers.
Myth: You should take the strongest painkillers you can when treating pain in the first instance as this will be most effective
False. Stronger doesn’t mean more effective and you need to understand the root of your pain before popping a pill because different painkillers are only effective for certain types of pain. When pain first hits, it’s advisable to seek the recommendation of your pharmacist.
They can explain the medicine, dose and instructions that are right for you. They’ll also make sure that the medicine won’t react with anything else that you’re taking and you’ll be warned of any side effects. Most pharmacies have consultation rooms where they can offer advice to patients suffering from minor injuries and ailments and your pharmacist will have the skills to spot whether a patient needs referring to a GP.
Myth: Over-the-counter pain medication can fix your pain
False. Painkillers can’t heal you. They can only bring some relief to your pain by masking your symptoms and allowing you to get on with your day. They don’t treat the root cause of your pain. That’s why it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional and address the cause of the pain.
Myth: I can take someone else’s painkillers, which were prescribed for other symptoms
False. You should only take painkillers designed to alleviate your particular symptoms and you should only go on the recommendations of your pharmacist or GP. No single painkiller can relieve all types of pain. If you want to effectively control your pain, you will need to match your medication accordingly. The incorrect use of painkillers for prolonged periods can lead to unwanted side effects such as headaches and dependence.
Myth: I can take over-the-counter painkillers for a long time
False. You should always follow the recommended usage period on the leaflet, otherwise you’re potentially opening yourself up to a range of unwanted side effects. As a general rule, painkillers should not be used for more than three days in a row or longer than the number of days recommended in the information leaflet.
Myth: You should avoid painkillers altogether when experiencing pain
False. You should be mindful about the risks associated with over-the-counter painkillers but it’s important to recognise that these products have legitimate uses, especially when treating mild or moderate pain and the relief of fevers, aches and pains associated colds and influenza. Over-the-counter painkillers are a short-term treatment and you should always consult a pharmacist as they can advise you on the best medication for your needs.
Irish-based company Perrigo is a leading provider of medicines and healthcare products. From its beginnings in 1887 as a packager of generic home remedies, Perrigo has grown to become the world’s largest manufacturer of OTC products and supplier of infant formulas for the store brand market. Its headquarters are in Ireland.
As a global business, Perrigo is committed to providing ”Quality Affordable Healthcare” products range. For more information, visit the website.